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Case Study

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

Background and Starting Point


Reach Up Consultancy was commissioned to work with Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, one of the busiest cancer services in England with over 23,000 cancer referrals annually.  


The Trust is a large acute provider in outer North East London, with 6,500 staff, serving a population of over 750,000 with an annual revenue of £560 million. The organisation operates from two main sites; Queen's Hospital and King George Hospital, both with high volume A&Es and a combined inpatient bed base of c.900.


The organisation celebrated coming out of CQC special measures in 2017 after three years and despite significant improvements across a number of domains, had experienced a long period of non-compliant elective and cancer performance.


The organisation was in a challenging position by the time it commissioned Reach Up Consultancy to undertake improvement work:

  • Non-compliant achievement of 62 day cancer target for over 2 years

  • Clinical risk concernsre: patients in the system undiagnosed –long waits inurology (prostate) 

  • Long waiting times for patient treatment

  • Significant negative impact on performance of the rest of London 

  • Relentless external scrutiny and pressure from NHS regulators and commissioners.


The Approach


  • 5 months of focused consultancy and leadership support

  • Central goal to support the delivery and sustainability of the 62 day cancer target

  • Provided senior leadership, advice and guidance 

  • Worked closely with the Cancer Service Manager to deliver an improvement programme

  • Work closely with the Clinical Cancer Support Division, including MDT Coordinators

  • Project Sponsorship from the Chief Operating Officer, with day to day reporting to the Deputy Chief Operating Officer



The Outcome


The Trust adopted good practices around cancer waiting times performance management and embedded across the organisation a clear monthly rhythm to planning for capacity, monitoring progress against expected treatment volumes in-month, and providing an appropriate operational response to identified risk triggers. The key outcomes were: 

  • Consistent achievement of the 62 day target for 12 months

  • Team culture change - “it can be done” 

  • Increasing risk awareness and mitigation 

  • Cancer monthly performance/ monthly treatments trajectory tool developed and embedded


The Trust achieved 12 months of compliant 62 day performance  from July 2017, for the first time in over two years. Patients are now receiving much quicker diagnosis and treatment of their cancers.

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